Advantage Africa – an update on latest travel developments across the Continent

Is the African market finally ready to fulfil its full potential? Will a new more open approach to air connectivity finally open the door to better intra-African connectivity? These are massive questions for a market that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts will see the strongest growth over the next 20 years and will be home to some of the fastest growing individual country markets in terms of passenger demand.

Our regular round-up delivers some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.

  • Air Tanzania close to delivering first nonstop service to India in more than 20 years
  • Dana Air and ASKY to expand Nigerian cooperation with additional leased 737s and codesharing
  • Ethiopian Airlines implements Alipay on mobile app
  • South Africa’s Comair reports ‘record earnings’ in FY2017/18 despite ‘dismal trading conditions’
  • Angola set to sign new air transport agreement with Portugal
  • Ethiopian Airlines eyes Chinese growth opportunities
  • SA Airlink to offer business class on Johannesburg-Richards Bay service from Oct-2018
  • National Aviation Services to invest in Africa over next three years; will begin in Rwanda
  • ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
  • DATA SNAPSHOT: African aircraft fleet (data: w/c 17-Sep-2018)

Air Tanzania close to delivering first nonstop service to India in more than 20 years
Air Tanzania plans to shortly resume service to India with plans to launch four times weekly Dar es Salaam-Mumbai service with Boeing 787 aircraft. “Air Tanzania has recently received permission to operate into India from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation”, Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre MD Jilesh Babla recently confirmed. The carrier previously suspended service between the two countries in the mid-1990s for commercial reasons.


Dana Air and ASKY to expand Nigerian cooperation with additional leased 737s and codesharing
Dana Air COO Obi Mbanuzuo said the airline will soon partner with ASKY Airlines for the operation of three Boeing 737NG aircraft under “a complex wet lease operation”, reports a Nigerian newspaper. The carriers currently cooperate to operate 737-700 aircraft on Abuja-Lagos service. The agreement between the airlines, first announced in Feb-2018, also includes interlining and the carriers plan to expand to include codesharing. Mr Mbanuzuo commented on the partnership, stating: “It involved so many things and the partnership people are already seeing the fruition. The initial partnership has various levels and what you are seeing now is the aircraft leasing aspect of the partnership”.


Ethiopian Airlines implements Alipay on mobile app
Ethiopian Airlines has introduced payments using Alipay on its mobile app, in partnership with CellPoint Mobile. The implementation of Alipay is the first alternative payment method integration under the partnership between Ethiopian and CellPoint. Ethiopian Airlines director digital Miretab Teklaye says: “The Alipay integration is the first in our PSP partnership in China and an important step in our airline’s growth strategy for the mobile channel”.


South Africa’s Comair reports ‘record earnings’ in FY2017/18 despite ‘dismal trading conditions’
Comair (South Africa) has reported “record earnings” for the year ended 30-Jun-2018, marking 72 years of “uninterrupted profitable operation” despite “dismal trading conditions”, including poor GDP growth, rising fuel prices and surplus capacity in the domestic market. The company’s non-airline business contributed 25% of net profit before tax. CEO Erik Venter says: “While profits for the year were good, we’re still not achieving the margins that will allow for the optimum pace of upgrading our fleet. The weak economy will maintain pressure on consumer spending while the oversupply of seats in the domestic market suppresses pricing across most routes”.


Angola set to sign new air transport agreement with Portugal
Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa said a new air transport agreement was due to be signed between Portugal and Angola during his visit to Angola on 17/18-Sep-2018. The agreement will increase frequency between Lisbon and Luanda for TAP Air Portugal and TAAG, set at 14 times weekly under the previous agreement signed back in Oct-2010.


Ethiopian Airlines eyes Chinese growth opportunities
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam has said the East African airline plans to expand its Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai services, stating: “These flights are all full. We are looking for more capacity, more frequency,” he told Chinese reporters this week. The carrier also plans to commence Chongqing, Shenzhen and Zhengzhou passenger services and Oslo-Guangzhou freighter service.


SA Airlink to offer business class on Johannesburg-Richards Bay service from Oct-2018
SA Airlink plans to offer business class product on Johannesburg-Richards Bay service from 01-Oct-2018 following the introduction of Embraer 170 aircraft, configured with six business class seats, on the route.


National Aviation Services to invest in Africa over next three years; will begin in Rwanda
National Aviation Services group CEO Hassan El-Houry has stated the company expects to invest USD50 million in Africa during the next three years, reflecting the opportunities that exist throughout the continent. He noted Rwanda will be the starting point, with targets for 54 countries overall. National Aviation Services will begin developing two airport lounges in Rwanda, and may expand to other areas including airport technology.


Route Updates

  • Royal Air Maroc has confirmed Boeing 737MAX-9 deployment on routes from Casablanca is summer 2019 with the aircraft set to debut in scheduled operation on 31-Mar-2019 serving Accra, Bologna, Lagos, London Heathrow, Paris Orly and domestically to Marrakech.
  • Air Peace plans to commence Enugu-Kano and Owerri-Yola services “soon”. Kano and Yola will be new destinations for the airline, according to OAG schedule data.
  • Air Sénégal has confirmed it plans to commence its Dakar-Paris service in Feb-2019 after Senegal’s Agence Nationale de l’Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie rescinded Corsair’s traffic rights for the route from 31-Jan-2019.
  • Etihad Airways plans to operate daily Abu Dhabi-Johannesburg service with Boeing 787-9 instead of A330-200 equipment, effective 01-Dec-2018 to 20-Feb-2019, according to AirlineRoute.
  • Kenya Airways plans to increase its non-stop Nairobi-Cape Town frequency, flown using Boeing 737-800 equipment, from three to five times weekly, effective 20-Nov-2018.
  • Auric Air plans to increase Dar Es Salaam-Mafia Island frequency from three times weekly to daily, effective 01-Oct-2018 to 31-Mar-2019 to meet demand during the whale shark season.
  • Transavia France will boost summer 2019 flights to Africa plans from Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport as it boosts its schedules, adding new frequencies to Agadir, Marrakech, Monastir and Oujda.

  • DATA SNAPSHOT: African aircraft fleet (data: w/c 17-Sep-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG